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The Road To Fort Worth

Read » Chapter 8: Danville


The Architect

Howard was an architect of some renown. For five years, he worked for an award winning skyscraper firm in Manhattan and earned the status of master designer, though his designs were often altered to fit the vision of the controlling partners. He was determined to gain control of his own destiny and returned to Dallas, his hometown, to open his own firm.

He was not interested in residential architecture and hired a team of architects, designers and engineers to implement his designs. His resolve to create large, towering structures that would enhance the lifestyles of people and add an aesthetic beyond compare continued to be his primary obsession. From the start, he eliminated the drafting board from his office, replacing it with a large sketch pad. He'd draw a rendering of his plan, then communicate verbally the details to his employees.

He drove his office much as one would drive a car. He steered the course, navigating on winding mountain roads, braking when necessary, accelerating at times, slowing at others. He was able to communicate with such precision that there was never a doubt that every drawing executed by another draftsman was his idea.

Howard left the management of his house to his wife, a young, beautiful woman with impeccable taste whom he loved deeply. She was his equal in her command of words, but demanded that issues between them be resolved immediately. Howard was methodical in the decision making process, knowing that some decisions take time.

One evening, he was cleaning one of the rifles in his prize collection, forgetting that it was loaded, when she approached him with a problem. He was two whiskeys over his limit, slammed the butt of the rifle on the floor and the gun discharged, missing her by inches, but silencing a cuckoo clock on the wall behind her. A neighbor heard the shot, called the police, and Howard spent a few hours in jail until his wife bailed him out.

In the morning, he tied his bow tie, donned his straw boaters hat, climbed behind the wheel of his '39 Buick Convertible and headed to work, the place where he, alone, held court.

Copyright ©2012 Michael Jackson Smith


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